Meaning of Names, Places & Things in the Bible


Here is a list of some prominent names, places and things in the Bible. There are certain words whose meaning is not always discernible. The writer has used her discretion.

The academic study of personal names is called anthroponymy which is a branch of Onomastics or onomatology—the study of the etymology, history, and use of proper names. That name comes from the Greek ὄνομα (ónoma) meaning “name”.

Anthroponymy (or anthroponomastics) is the sub-study of the names of human beings. The study of anthroponyms comes from the ancient Greek ἄνθρωπος anthrōpos, meaning “human” and ὄνομα onoma meaning “name.”

All those weird words just to study names—Yikes!

Abba, “father, daddy”
Abel, “vanity, breath, vapor”
Abram, “high father”
Abraham, “father of a great multitude”
Adam, “earthy, red”
Adonijah, “the Lord is my master”
Agar, or Hagar, “a stranger, flight”
Alleluia, “praise the Lord”
Amos, “loading, weighty”
Andrew, “a strong man”
Antichrist, “an adversary to Christ”
Antioch, “holding out against”
Apocalypse, “uncovering, revelation”
Apollos,” one who destroys, destroyer”
Areopagus, “the hill of Mars”
Armageddon, “hill of fruits, “mountain of Megiddo”
Asia, “land of sunrise”

Baal, “master, lord”
Baal-zebub, “god of the fly” same as Beelzebub
Babel, “confusion, mixture” Meaning of Babylon, too
Barnabas, “son of the prophet, or of consolation”
Bathsheba, “the seventh daughter”
Bethany, “the house of song,” “the house of affliction”
Bethel, “the house of God”
Boaz “in strength”

Cain, “acquired” or “possessed”
Calvary, “the place of a skull”
Canaan, “humbled, brought down by a heavy load”
Capernaum, “chaos, disorder”
Cephas, a “rock or stone”
Christ, “anointed one”
Corinth, “which is satisfied,” ”ornament,” “beauty”

David, “well-beloved, dear”
Deborah, “a bee”
Decapolis, “containing ten cities”
Delilah, “she dwindles;” in Greek means “faithless one”
Deuteronomy, “second law”

Eden, “pleasure; delight”
Egypt, “black land” referring to the soil
Eli, Eli, “my God, my God”
Elisabeth, Elizabeth, “the oath or fullness of God”
Elohi, Elohim, “God”
Emmanuel, “God with us”
Emmaus, “warm spring”
Ephesus, “desirable”
Esau, “hairy”
Esther, “star” in Persian
Eve, “living, enlivening”
Ezekiel, “the strength of God”
Ezra, “help,” “court”

Felix, “happy, prosperous”

Gabriel, “God is my strength”
Galilee, “the province”
Gamaliel,” recompense of God”
Genesis, “beginning”
Gethsemane, “oil press”
Gideon, “feller, hewer”
Golgotha, “a heap of skulls, something skull-shaped”

Habakkuk, “he that embraces”
Hagar, “flight”
Hallelujah, “praise the Lord”
Herod, “son of a hero”
Hezekiah, “strength of the Lord”
Hosanna, “save I pray thee, keep, preserve”

Ichabod, “where is the glory?” or, “no glory”
Immanuel, “God with us”
Isaac, “laughter”
Isaiah, “the salvation of the Lord”
Ishmael, “God that hears”
Israel, “who contends with God”
Italy, “abounding with calves or heifers”

Jacob, “that supplants, undermines”
Jehoshaphat, “the Lord is judge”
Jehovah, “self-subsisting”or “I AM as I AM” (Same with Yahweh)
Jehovah-jireh, “the Lord will provide”
Jehovah-nissi, “the Lord my banner”
Jehovah-shalom,” the Lord send peace”
Jehovah-shammah, “the Lord is there”
Jehovah-tsidkenu, “the Lord our righteousness”
Jemima, “handsome as the day”
Jeremiah, “Yahweh will exalt ”
Jericho, “his moon,” “his month,” “his sweet smell”
Jeroboam, “he that opposes the people”
Jerusalem, “vision of peace”
Jeshua, same as Joshua
Jesse, “God’s gift, God exists”
Jesus, “savior, deliverer”
Jew, same as Judah
Jezebel, “where is the prince?”
Joel, “he that wills or commands”
John, “the grace or mercy of the Lord”
Jordan, “the river of judgment”
Joseph, “he will add”
Joshua, “a savior, a deliverer”
Judah, “the praise of the Lord,” “confession”

Korah, “baldness,” “ice, frost”

Laban, “white, shining, gentle” “brittle”
Lamech, “poor, made low”
Laodicea, “just people”
Lazarus, “assistance of God”
Leah, “weary, tired”
Lucifer, “bringing light”
Luke, “luminous, white”

Macedonia, “burning,” “adoration”
Magdala, “tower,” “greatness”
Magdalene, “a person from Magdala”
Malachi, “my messenger, my angel”
Mammon, “riches/money”
Maranatha, “the Lord is coming”
Marcus, “polite,” “shining”
Mark, same as Marcus
Martha, “the mistress, the lady”
Mary, same as Miriam
Miriam, “sea of bitterness or sorrow”
Matthew, “given,” a “gift”
Megiddo, “his precious fruit,” “declaring a message”
Melchizedek, “my king is righteousness,” “king of justice”
Mesopotamia, “between two rivers”
Methusaleh, “man of javelin, death of sword”
Micah, “poor, humble”
Moses, “taken out,” “drawn forth”

Nazareth, “branch or root”
Nazarite, “one chosen or set apart”
Nebuchadnezzar, “Nabu protect my eldest son”
Nehemiah, “consolation,” “repentance of the Lord”
Nicodemus, “victory of the people”
Nineveh, “handsome, agreeable”
Noah, “repose,” “consolation”

Obadiah, “servant of the Lord”
Omega, “the last letter of the Greek alphabet; long O”
Onesimus, “profitable, useful”
Ophir, “fruitful region”

Palestina (Palestine), “from the Philistines who occupied the territory in 12 century BC
Patmos, in myth a sunken island a goddess brought to the surface
Paul, “small, little”
Pentateuch, “the five books of Moses, the Torah, the Pentateuch”
Pentecost, “fiftieth”
Persia, “that cuts or divides,” “land of horsemen”
Peter, “a rock or stone”
Pharaoh, “”great house”
Pharisees, “set apart”
Philemon, “who kisses”
Philip, “warlike, “a lover of horses”
Philistines, “a wallower or roller”
Pontius, “marine,” “belonging to the sea”
Prisca, “ancient
Priscilla, same as Prisca

Quartus, “fourth”

Rabbi, Rabboni, “my master”
Raca, “worthless, good-for-nothing”
Rachel, “sheep”
Rahab, “large, extended” (name of a woman)
Rebekah, “join, tie, snare”
Rehoboam, “who sets the people at liberty”
Roman, “a citizen/man of Rome” (named after Romulus)
Rome, “hill”
Ruth, “friend, companion”

Sabaoth, “Lord of hosts”
Sadducees, followers of Sadoc, or Zadok
Salem, “complete or perfect peace”
Salome, same as Solomon
Samson, “sun”
Samuel, “heard of God,” “name of God”
Sanhedrin, “sitting together”
Satan, “contrary, adversary, enemy, accuser”
Saul, ”asked for, prayed for”
Selah, “the end, a pause”
Sennacherib, “sin has replaced my (lost) brothers”
Sheba, “oath”
Shem, “renown”
Shiloh (name of a city), “peace,” “abundance”
Silas, “wood, forest”
Sinai, “enmity, hatred”
Sodom, “burning,” “the walled”
Solomon, “peaceable,” “perfect”
Stephanas, “crown, crowned”
Stephen, same as Stephanas

Tamar, “palm, palm-tree”
Tarsus, “winged, feathered”
Teraphim, “images, idols”
Theophilus, “friend/lover of God”
Thomas, “a twin”
Thummim, “perfection, truth”
Tiberius, “the son of Tiber”
Timotheus aka Timothy, ‘honoring God”
Titus, “pleasing”
Troas, “penetrated”
Tubal, “the earth, the world,” “confusion”
Tychicus, “casual, by chance”
Tyre, Tyrus, “strength,” “sharp”

Uphaz, “pure gold” (gold of Phasis or Pison)
Ur, “flame, light”
Uzziah, Uzziel, “my strength is the Lord”

Vashti, “beautiful,” “thread”

No entries for W.

No entries for X.

Yahweh “I AM”

Zaccheus, “pure, clean”, “just”
Zachariah, “memory of the Lord”
Zebedee, “abundant,” “portion”
Zechariah, same as Zachariah
Zelotes, “zealous ones”
Zephaniah, “the Lord has concealed, protected”
Zerubbabel, “a stranger at Babylon,” “dispersion of confusion”

WHEW!—Sandra Sweeny Silver